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Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group MED 03 Deployment
TRBATGRU
CVN-71 Theodore Roosevelt
"Rough Rider"

The ship entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard in May 2002. Immediately, ship yard workers and crewmembers went to work chipping paint, grinding metal and updating the ship. The Roosevelt ended her yard period on 30 Oct 2002.

On November 1, 2002 the Roosevelt was underway off the east coast of the US conducting sea trials and by November 9 began flight deck certification with CVW-1. The Roosevelt returned to port on November 17.

In early December the Roosevelt began TSTA.

A story in the December 10, Virginian-Pilot reported that the training cycle for the Roosevelt had been sped up by two-weeks which would have it beginning its COMPTUEX in January 2003. This did fit with Reserve Training notices issued as early as October that put the date for COMPTUEX beginning on January 22.

An 80 person NNSY team of craftsmen and engineers worked on the Theodore Roosevelt to prepare her to leave Norfolk for an accelerated training exercise that would certify it for combat. The team worked from Dec. 21 through Jan. 6, when the TR departed. The NNSY specialists performed repairs ranging from certifying newly installed equipment to fine tuning existing components. In all, they worked on about 50 components and systems. These included system repairs to the ship's air-conditioning plants, miscellaneous preservation and lagging work, repairs to the ship's service turbine generator and engines, and ventilation modifications to a medical area environmental control system.

However, on January 4, 2003 a story in the Associated Press indicated that the Roosevelt would depart for COMPTUEX on January 6 departing around 8 AM. Unfortunately, an engineering problem, (which the Navy said was minor) delayed the departure of the Roosevelt preventing her from leaving on schedule. The TR later got underway on January 6 at around 1 PM.

USS Theodore Roosevelt began its Composite Unit Training Exercise Jan. 13 to complete another qualification in preparation for deployment. COMPTUEX lasted approximately three weeks. The exercise was a series of tests, including blue water qualification, basic carrier operations skills and several days of war games to get the ship "battle ready." Carrier Group 4 observed and graded the exercise.

On January 21, 2003, after various reports in the media indicated that a deployment had been ordered, the Navy confirmed that the Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group was to deploy for the Persian Gulf region as soon as the Strike Group had been certified.

Ships and aircraft of the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group successfully completed their Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) February 4, and were certified ready to deploy. The battle group, commanded by Rear Adm. John C. Harvey Jr., deployed from the Puerto Rican Operating Area in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and other contingencies if required.

Units deployed included the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 and Commander, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 2 embarked, the guided-missile cruisers USS Anzio (CG 68) and USS Cape St. George (CG 71); the guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Porter (DDG 78) and USS Winston Churchill (DDG 81); the guided-missile frigate USS Carr (FFG 52); and the Fast Combat Support Ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8).

A transit from Puerto Rico area to the Persian Gulf took roughly 20 days.

The TR's Joint Task Force Exercise, JTFEX 03-2, was initially scheduled to begin on April 4, 2003, but as world events required that the Roosevelt deploy significantly ahead of schedule, this exercise had either been cancelled or postponed.

On or about February 12, 2003 the TR began to operate in the Mediterranean.

On March 22, 2003 USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 launched its first strikes in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. All of the squadrons embarked aboard TR participated, whether in a strike or support role, in the attack against one of Sadam Hussein's palace complexes and an AM broadcasting station in central Iraq.

On the night of March 31, 2003, Fighter and strike fighter aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 8, deployed aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), pounded positions in northern Iraq for most of the night, the longest night of flights and sorties since the war began March 19. Pilots flew nearly 50 sorties on sites, including artillery installations, a barracks and a surface-to-air-missile (SAM) installation in northern Iraq.

The TR Carrier Strike Group returned to Norfolk at the end of May 2003.

Chronology

    29 May 2003 - Return to Norfolk
    28 May 2003 - CVW 8 Departs
    15 May 2003 - Visit Cartegna, Spain
    24 Apr 2003 - Depart Koper
    19 Apr 2003 - Port Call @ Koper
    19 Mar 2003 - OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM
    4 Mar 2003 - Port call @ Crete
    04 Feb 2003 - Deploys
    04 Feb 2003 - Completes COMPTUEX
    13 Jan 2003 - Begins COMPTUEX
    06 Jan 2003 - Departs Norfolk
    19 Dec 2002 - Returns to Norfolk
    17 Dec 2002 - Completes TSTA
    04 Dec 2002 - TSTA
    17 Nov 2002 - Returns to Norfolk
    09 Nov 2002 - Carrier quals w/ CVW-1
    01 Nov 2002 - Sea trials WESTLANT
    30 Oct 2002 - Ends Yard Period
    Apr-Oct 2002 - PIA @ NNSY



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